Fitness bands are a dime a dozen now, and come with features that were till a few years back only available on costly devices. The Honor Band 5 is the fifth iteration of Honor’s fitness tracker device and with its colour display, it certainly raises the bar for fitness bands.
The device goes neck and neck with the Xiaomi Mi Band 4, which also comes with a colour display. We are still to review the Xiaomi Mi Band 4, but till then let’s see how the Honor Band 5 performs.
Honor Band 5's colour display is sharp
Till a few years ago, it would have been difficult to imagine fitness bands costing Rs 2,999 to come with a colour display. But it looks like that has become a norm now. The Honor Band 5 display isn’t very different from the one seen on the Honor Band 4 — both come with 0.95-inch AMOLED touchscreen display (240 x 120 pixels) with a pixel density of 282 PPI. The display is bright, it’s sharp (assuming you are not holding the Band 5 too close to your eyes) and there’s fairly little to complain here.
Good fitness tracking options and well-designed app
You will need to pair the Honor Band 5 with the Huawei Health app. It’s a straightforward process of selecting the Honor Band 5 from the list of products and then pairing it via Bluetooth. I paired the review unit with the Apple iPhone X and it worked fine. Huawei and Honor phone users may get the Huawei Wear app bundled on the smartphones.
The user interface on the phone is simple. You just swipe up/down on the display to access menus such as Activity tracker, Heart rate, Sleep tracking, Workout, Messages and More. Standard fitness band fare. A central circle on the display acts as the soft home button. While swiping there is a noticeable delay but nothing which ruins the experience. Also, it takes a while to switch between different menus. In the settings section, you also get a stopwatch and timer functionality. You can select from a range of watch faces, some of which are plain boring.
In terms of responsiveness, things could have been snappier. For instance, when you raise your wrist to check the time or see your stats, it takes a second to register and light up the display. On a few instances, I had to shake my wrists to activate the accelerometer, so be prepared to live with that.
Once the Honor Band 5 is paired with your phone, every time you get a call your Band 5 will notify you by vibrating. You can only cut the call from your Band 5’s display. To attend the call, you will actually have to take out your phone.
Honor Band 5 is water-resistant for up to 50 metres underwater and has a 5 ATM rating. This makes it ideal for tracking your swims.
The sleep tracking data is quite detailed though. You get to know the quality of sleep with granular details such as REM sleep, light sleep, deep sleep and so on. You also get contextual cards based on the amount you have slept or if you have slept abnormally late.
When it comes to activity tracking or heart rate monitoring, the Honor Band 5 does a good job. Yes, the tracker does register false steps when you are on a flight or driven around.
Blood oxygen level and NFC not present in India
The Honor Band 5 selling in China comes with two additional features, SPO2 or blood oxygen level measurement and NFC for payments. Both these features are not present on the Indian edition of the Band 5.
5-day active battery life
The Honor Band 5 houses a 100 mAh battery which lasted a good five days on a single charge with daily use, including wearing it while sleeping. This is pretty good battery life for a colour display sporting fitness band. But one thing that is a bit of a bother is the proprietary charging connector. You just have to lock the Honor Band 5 in place on the power adapter. It takes around 90 mins to charge completely if you are using a USB port on your laptop or desktop. Honor claims a 14-day battery life, but I don’t think you can get that many days if you are using the Honor Band 5 extensively.
Honor Band 5 Verdict and Price in India
Is Honor Band 5 the best fitness band around? I can’t say that for sure unless I test the Xiaomi Mi Band 4 which is yet to officially launch in India.
Is Honor Band 5 worth the price? Totally.
Is Honor Band 5 a smartwatch replacement? No, apart from notifications for calls and SMSes, there isn’t much of integration between the Band 5 and your phone.
At Rs 2,599, if you can live with the noticeably slow response, there is really little to complain about the Honor Band 5. It’s minimal, gets the work done and has a good active 5-day battery life. If you want a simple fitness tracker, Honor Band 5 has you covered.
If you can wait, the Xiaomi Mi Band 4 is expected to be coming to India on 17 September, which is a direct competition to the Honor Band 5. We shall be reviewing that soon as well, so stay tuned for that.